It was difficult choosing the women to include here. Many are not shown that deserve our recognition and many went past the 1920 cut-off date I chose. Their accomplishments are abbreviated here; many were gifted in many other ways.
ALCORN, Sophia: (1883-1967). From Stanford KY, foremost educator of the disabled, developed a method to teach deaf and blind children to speak. Taught at KY School for the Deaf in Danville.
ARNOW, Harriette Louisa Simpson: (1908-1986). Born Wayne Co; teacher in Pulaski and Jefferson Co. Moved to Detroit Michigan. Novels included Mountain Path, Hunter’s Horn and The Dollmaker.
BOONE, Rebecca: arrives in Kentucky with daughter Jemima, thought to be the first white woman to settle here. 1775.
BRECKINRIDGE, MADELINE McDOWELL: (1872-1920). Sister of below. Early educator.
BRECKINRIDGE, Sophronisba: Becomes first woman admitted to the Kentucky Bar, 1892.
BREZING, BELLE: (1859-1940). Well known madam of one of the finest “houses” in the South. Prototype for Belle Watling in “Gone With the Wind”. Books and plays written about her.
BRITTON, Mary E: Teaches school in Lexington; writer ford “Our Women and Children, Kentucky’s premier Black magazine, 1888.
CLAY, Laura (1849-1941) Spoke against slavery; worker for women’s rights; leader of the KY Equal Rights Association; worker with the temperance league.
COOMES, Jane (ca 1750-1816): Moved to Fort Harrod with husband William in 1775; member of a group of Catholics from Maryland. Became Kentucky’s first school teacher two years later, 1775
CRAWFORD, Jane Todd: Rode horseback 60 miles to Danville to have a 20-pound ovarian tumor removed with no anesthesia, 1809.
CROMWELL, Emma Guy: First woman elected to statewide office in Kentucky, 1896.
FLANERY, MARY ELLIOTT: (1867-1933). First woman to serve in a southern state legislature, born Carter Co. Teacher, newspaper correspondent. Sponsor of the Sheperd-Towner Maternity Act; worked for women’s suffrage.
HILL, HATTIE H: (1847-1921). Born Bourbon Co; noted artist; all of her portraits are found in the Bourbon County Courthouse.
INGELS, Margaret: (1892-1971). First woman in the US to receive a mechanical engineering degree. Born Paris, KY.
JOHNSON, Annie Fellows: Publishes “The Little Colonel”, based on Pewee Valley in Oldham County, 1895.
MARCUM, Julia: Successfully fought off soldiers with an axe when home attacked by Confederate soldiers. 1861.
McGINTY, Ann (unknown-1815). Kentucky’s first clothing manufacturer, came to Ft. Harrod 1775
MILEY, MARION: (1914-1941). Outstanding golfer, played major women’s golf tournaments. Murdered on 28 Sept 1941.
MILLER, Mary: First female licensed riverboat captain, 1883.
MONTZ, LUCY DUPEY: (1842-1922). Born near Warsaw, KY; first woman dentist. Worked to improve KY’s African American people; principal of the Booker T. Washington Grade School. Graduated with honors at Cincinnati College of Dental Surgery in 1889.
MOORE, Nancy: Became Eldress of the Shaker community at South Union, 1864.
NATION, Carry: (1846-1911). Most noted of the crusaders of the temperance movement. Born Garrard Co; lived in Boyle and Woodford counties for a time. 1st husband and a daughter were alcoholics. Journalist
NEVILLE, Linda: Began work to eradicate trachoma in eastern Kentucky mountains. 1894
PETTIT, Katherine: (1868-1936). Born Lexington KY, worked in the mountains of southeastern KY. Began first rural social settlement work there. Taught cooking, sewing, home nursing, Bible and singing.
QUIMBY, Harriet: Became first American woman to earn pilot’s license, 1911.
RICE, Alice Hegan: (1870-1942). Prolific writer, one being “Mr Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1901)
ROBERTS, Elizabeth Madox: (1886-1941). Born Perryville KY. Pulitizer Price winner. First novel was “The Time of Man”
SMITH, LUCY HARTH: (1884-1955). Only woman to serve as president of the Kentucky Negro Association; promoted the study of African American history in school; began The Colored Health Camp.
SOUTH, Lillian H.: (1879-1966). Born Warren Co KY, a physician’s daughter. Studied Nursing at Patterson NJ and other higher institutions. Credited with the elimination of many diseases in the state especially hookworm. Lead inoculation campaigns against scarlet fever, malaria, smallpox, typhoid and leprosy. Director State Board of Health’s laboratory services.
SOUTHGATE, Louise: Opened a medical practice in Covington, the first female licensed physician in Covington, 1894.
SPALDING, Catherine: Helped start Roman Catholic order of Sisters of Charity of Nazareth near Bardstown, elected Mother of the nuns, 1813.
STEWART, Cora Wilson: (1875-1958). Elected superintendent of county school in 1901; in 1911 elected to head the KY Education Association; first woman president there. Born in Morehead in Rowan Co.
STOVALL, Thelma: (1919-1994). Born Hart Co, active in advancing status of women; first KY female lieutenant governor (1975). Was also State Representative, Secretary of State, State Treasurer.
TAYLOR, CAROLINE: Opens the A. H. Taylor Co. in Bowling Green; a successful dressmaking and designing business, 1903.
TEVIS, Julia: (1799-1880). Born in Clark Co 1799; wife of a Methodist minister. Together they established Science Hill Academy in Shelbyville, 1825.
THUM, PATTY: (1853-1926). First well-known female KY artist; a Vassar College graduate; came to Louisville in the mid 1870s. Painted landscapes, still life and portraits. Art critic for the Louisville Herald.
WEBSTER, Delia: Helps 3 slaves escape across the Ohio River; caught and sentenced but later pardoned, 1844.
WHITLEY, Esther: She and husband build the first brick house west of the Allegheny Mountains in Crab Orchard, 1791.
WILEY, Jenny Sellards: (1760-1831). Captive of Indians, born between the border of KY and VA. 1789.
YANDELL, Enid: (1870-1934). Born Louisville; became a world-renowned sculptor. One of three women to receive the Designer’s Medal. One of her sculptors is the likeness of Daniel Boone in Louisville’s Cherokee Park.
For additional information you might want to check:http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/fcs1/fcs1323/fcs1323.pdfhttp://www.womeninkentucky.com/us_and_ky_timeline.html
© Copyright Dec 4, 2008, Sandra K. Gorin